The main way the Faithful participate in continuing education about their Faith is through the Sunday Lectionary readings.  Personal Notes focuses on the Sunday readings. This is the fourth time Personal Notes goes about treating Epiphany. Epiphany is about the Faithful reaching out, beyond themselves. The first reach, however, is inward.  At this point, I have already reviewed the Greek for both the Epistle and the Gospel; in 2004 the Gospel, in 2005 the Epistle.  My intention from here on, once I have finished reading the Epistles in Greek, is to reread the Greek for both Epistle and Gospel as my ordinary preparation.


In that spirit, there is a significant difference between the more literal and more functional translation of the Greek at Ephesians.


Ephesians 3:5

Lectionary (1998):                        It was not made known to people in other generations

The Vulgate (circa 410):               quod aliis generationibus non innotuit filiis hominum

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         Which in other generations was not known to the sons of men

King James (1611):                      Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men

Jerusalem (1966):                        to any men in past generations

New American (1970):                  which was not made known to human beings in other generations

New Jerusalem (1985):                [which] was unknown to humanity in previous generations


Sons of men is the key phrase because the Gospel of Matthew applies son of David to Jesus in order to show development understanding who Jesus is, beginning in Chapter 9, reaching a high point in Chapter 22.[1]


According to my Concordance[2] and the Internet,[3] son of David appears as follows:


Lectionary     Gospel of                When used

Reading        Matthew                 

013ABC          1:1                        The Vigil of Christmas

013ABC          1:20                      The Vigil of Christmas

010A               1:20                      Fourth Sunday of Advent

                       9:27                      unused

                     12:23                      unused

118A             15:22                      Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

                     20:30                      unused

                     20:31                      unused

037A             21:9                        Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

                     21:15                      unused

                     22:42                      unused


At reading 020A in 2004, Personal Notes does not mention son of David. Last year, during Cycle A, I did not develop how each use of son of David uncovers a more discerning understanding of the Christ.  A comment here, therefore, is appropriate.  One meaning of the Lectionary is just as the understanding of Jesus develops through the Gospel of Matthew, so the understanding of the Faithful develops through history.


Matthew 2:6, And you Bethlehem shows development through history. L. C. Allen explains,[4]


The Christian claims to see his Lord as the goal of hopes clothed in the cruder garb of eight-century B.C. Judean expectations. This claim is consonant with the witness of the NT, whose inspiration he accepts. But it is obvious that Micah himself would be rather surprised at the transmutation of the plain world of his period piece. What logical bridge can span the gulf of divine statement and divine intent?


Allen does not answer his question.  A conglomeration of various Christian churches, all managing to live together under one roof, is modeled, at least in prayer during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, beginning in the United States of America, the week after next, January 18.  The Lectionary readings begin with Isaiah 60:1-6, which is part of a fusion of hymnic forms fused with prophetic intercession in the context of future hope.[5] Hope is basic Christianity.  In this spirit, I look forward to hearing a new hymn called Alleluia Anyway.  The Lectionary in Isaiah 60:1 presents the glory of the Lord shines upon you, likening the glory of God to the sun.[6]  Richard Bauckham observes that this verse refers “to God’s salvific action to restore the exiles to the land and to restore Jerusalem to glory.”[7]


Margaret Barker further explains,[8]


What does lifting up a face on someone actually mean?  Isaiah described a great light in the darkness (Isa 9:2) and one of his later disciples proclaimed that the Glory of the LORD had risen on his city (Isa 60:1-2). The LORD was clothed in light like a garment (Ps. 104:2) but Habakkuk knew that it was too bright for human eyes: `His brightness was like the light, rays flashed from his hand, and there he veiled his power’ (Hab. 3:4). Moses asked to see the Glory but the LORD warned him that nobody could see the face/presence and live (Exod. 33:20).  In contrast, we read in the New Testament: `We have beheld his glory’ (John 1:14), a reference to John’s experience of the Transfiguration, when the light of Day One was visible to three of the disciples (Mark 9:1-8).  Jesus also spoke of this pre-created light and he knew that he was about to return there:  `And now Father, glorify thou me in the own presence with the glory I had with thee before the world was made’ (John 17:5).


The overwhelming power and glory of God becomes transferred into the souls of the Faithful.  This inner transfusion is only analogous to what Psalm 72 anticipated, with a view to Africa.


Psalm 72:10

Lectionary (1998):                        The kings of Tarshish and the Isles shall offer gifts; the kings of Arabia and Seba shall bring tribute.

The Vulgate (circa 410):               Reges Tharsis et insulae munera offerent; reges Arabum et Saba dona adducent.

Douay-Rheims (1582-1610):         The kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts. (Psalm 71)

King James (1611):                      The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.

Jerusalem (1966):                        the kings of Tarshish and of the islands will pay him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts;

New American (1970):                  May the kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, and kings of Arabia and Seba offer gifts.

New Jerusalem (1985):                the kings of Tarshish and the islands will pay him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Saba will offer gifts;


Though not always translated, Psalm 72:10 mentions both the kings of Sheba and Saba.[9]  The KJ and the NJB are the only ones above including both names.  How Seba fits in is beyond me. Whenever a factual inconsistency like this appears, I always wonder about the reason behind the facts. The facts are that some translations include Sheba while others do not.  I wonder why, within a context of African-American concerns. Sheba is in Africa.  Right now, I lack even speculative answers.


The Lectionary may use Psalm 72 because of its parallel with Isaiah 60.  Psalm 72 is one of the royal psalms, about a wise and just ruler.  Psalm 72 anticipates the future. Psalm 72:8, about ruling from sea to sea, is more than a wish, it is a promise spelled out more carefully in Zechariah 9:10, his empire will stretch. [10]


Faith is not only something to permeate the human soul in a quest for understanding the Creator, but is also something for the soul to appropriate. The Lectionary readings offer some hints about what to do. Isaiah appreciates the sun as a reflection of the glory of God.  God deserves the glory. Psalm 72 hopes in the glory of God for the future. Ephesians hints at growth in Faith through time. The Gospel teaches the Faithful to expect to find God reaching out in such unexpected places as a crèche in Bethlehem.



For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at

[1] W. R. G. Loader, “Son of David, Blindness, Possession, and Duality in Matthew,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 44, No. 4 (October 1982) 571.


[2] Rev. Newton Thompson, S.T.D. and Raymond Stock, Concordance to the Bible (Douay Version) (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder Book Co., 1942) 1024.


[4] L. C. Allen, The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah and Micah, 350 as cited in  Randall E. Otto, “The Prophets and Their Perspective,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 4 (October 2005), 234, fn. 53.


[5] Sue Gillingham, “From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 474.


[6] J. Ross Wagner, From the Heavens to the Heart: The Dynamics of Psalm 19 as Prayer, the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 61, No. 2 (April 1999) 252.


[7] Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Grand Rapids, Michigan/ Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 94.


[8] Margaret Barker, the Great high Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy (London: T & T Clark International: A Continuum imprint, 2003) 186.



[10] Sue Gillingham, “From Liturgy to Prophecy: The Use of Psalmody in Second Temple Judaism,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 3 (July 2002) 474, 475, 477, 478.